I went walking last week in Callahan State Park. With my dog. You know her. The perfect and smart and beautiful Doberman who is now one and three quarter years old but still a puppy. You know her but I do not believe you know Callahan State Park. Well, some of you may, if you live in Massachusetts, specifically in Framingham though perhaps in other, close to Framingham, towns. And definitely if you live in Framingham or close to it and have a dog. Because this park, as parks go, is a fantastic park for dogs.
There are miles and miles of trails that circle the park and intersect each other that can take a dog and their person on some really great walks/runs/hikes/wanderings. And there is this huge pond that is near this huge open space that is truly a dog-on-dog-let-us-all-play-together-place for any dog that wants this.
My dog does not.
She is not a let’s get together and play kinda gal. And so we do not go to the pond area. Instead we walk the trails. Specifically the trails to the right as I walk into the park from where I left my car. Specifically the trails that take me to the home we once had when we lived here. In Massachusetts. In Framingham Massachusetts to be specific.
We lived in a beautiful home. But more, this home was on this most incredible land. Land that filled me. Land that I belonged on. Land that it broke my heart, truly, to move away from. And this land, the lovely thing about it was that the very back part of it, down the back drive and far from the house, pressed up against Callahan State Park.
My land pressed up against this park and so this park, it became my park.
I love this park.
And so, last week, when I was in Framingham, after spending the night with my youngest child/second daughter, at her home (not in Framingham) where we made yummy taco meat which we ate with kale and beans and which she added humus to though I did not - which is surprising to anyone who knows me and most certainly to my daughter-in-law who thinks that my son is so awesome because I raised him on humus – I took myself and my beautiful dog to walk in these woods in this park of mine that I love so much.
I captured certain places on this walk. So I could share them with you. Places deeply familiar. Places that I ran along, navigating the roots that littered the paths during those many years that running was what I did best. And these trails, that I walked on last week, they held still those same roots and dips and curves where I tripped and stumbled as I and my dogs, back then, worked our way through the trees.
I walked up the inclines that would feel so steep after an hour plus run and which would signify that I was almost home. Something my dogs back then knew so well and were just as thankful for as I was.
I lingered on the wooden bridge that, to me, signified the end of my land and the beginning of the park even though the park was actually much closer to my property than that. Still, it felt like this was a dividing place because it was a bridge whereas the rest was just trials even though the ones that ran up against where I lived were much narrower and less traveled and so, sometimes when the leaves had fallen off the trees or the snow was on the ground, were almost impossible to see.
This was especially true last week. I think that the people who live in my home now likely do not travel along these paths from the land that was my home to the land that is this park as often as I did back then. Because the trails were hard to see, and the plants around were grown and full and for a few moments I was not sure I was walking quite right.
But then I was. And found my house. And I stood, just inside the woods so as not to bother the owners who bought this place from me. It is funny that I stood there like that as I remember so many times looking out my back window and seeing faces of hikers and walkers and runners peaking out from the trees, lost in the woods and hoping that my home may have been a way out of the park. It was not.
Standing just inside the trees, so as not to be seen, I captured an image of the pond that stood at the back of our land, against the park that my land pressed up against. The pond, to me, was not the best part of the land. It was lovely. But it did not pull me like the earth did. Like the grade of the slope that ran from our home to the park. Like the open space of the lawn and the trees of Callahan in the distance.
It was lovely being here this last week. Walking through these trails and up onto the edge of my home with Nava. Sharing this walk with her, journeying along these trails that cushioned the pads of my other dogs that I once had, this was very important for me. I would not have walked this walk without my dog. So that I could have this memory now of this walk with her, to close the circle and honor the space and take into my heart new moments in Callahan State Park. Even as my visit was about the moments past
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.